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Price Chopper “Vanilla” Lowfat Yogurt Multi-State Class Action

Consumers these days prefer natural to artificial flavors. The complaint for this class action alleges that the Price Chopper, Inc. makes a lowfat yogurt improperly labeled as “Vanilla with Other Natural Flavors.” It claims that the yogurt should be labeled as “Artificially Flavored.”

The class for this action is all those who live in Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New Hampshire who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.

all purchasers of the Product who reside in Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Hampshire during the applicable statutes of limitations.

An image of the product on page 1 of the complaint shows a container of the yogurt at issue. The word “Vanilla” is prominently and centrally displayed; below it are the words, “With Other Natural Flavors.” The container also shows an image of a vanilla blossom and two vanilla bean pods.

The complaint defines natural flavors as those “from natural sources like fruits and vegetables and made through processes such as distillation, roasting, heating, enzymolysis or fermentation.” In contrast, “[a]rtificial flavors are made from synthetic sources or through artificial processes.”

Vanillin makes up roughly one-third of the flavor and aroma of vanilla. The full flavor of a real vanilla includes things that are not found in vanillin, such as methyl cinnamate and cinnamyl alcohol, p-cresol, acetovanillone, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (p-anisyl alcohol), and vanillic acid.

While it is possible to derive vanillin from a natural source by a natural process, but this is not generally done for commercial purposes because it requires subtracting the vanillin from what would have been vanilla extract. Vanillin normally used for food flavoring is thus normally an artificial substance.

The ingredient panel for the product shows no vanilla extract or other real vanilla source; it shows merely “Natural Flavors.” The complaint contends, “Because the only natural vanillin is from the vanilla plant, vanillin from non-natural sources is artificial.”

According to the complaint, testing shows that the vanillin in the product is artificial and not from real vanilla. First, the complaint claims that the product contains significantly more vanillin than it would if the vanillin were only present as a component of vanilla extract. Second, the tests did not show the expected amounts of other compounds found with real vanilla, such as methyl cinnamate and cinnamyl alcohol, p-cresol, acetovanillone, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (p-anisyl alcohol), and vanillic acid.

At most, the complaint says, the product contains only a trace or de minimis amount of vanilla—not enough to flavor the yogurt by itself. Therefore, the complaint alleges, the phrase “With Other Natural Flavors” is false and misleading because the product’s characterizing flavor is created with artificial flavor. The labeling therefore misleads consumers to believe that the flavoring comes from the vanilla plant.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Price Chopper “Vanilla” Lowfat Yogurt Multi-State Complaint

February 27, 2021

Consumers these days prefer natural to artificial flavors. The complaint for this class action alleges that the Price Chopper, Inc. makes a lowfat yogurt improperly labeled as “Vanilla with Other Natural Flavors.” It claims that the yogurt should be labeled as “Artificially Flavored.”

Price Chopper “Vanilla” Lowfat Yogurt Multi-State Complaint

Case Event History

Price Chopper “Vanilla” Lowfat Yogurt Multi-State Complaint

February 27, 2021

Consumers these days prefer natural to artificial flavors. The complaint for this class action alleges that the Price Chopper, Inc. makes a lowfat yogurt improperly labeled as “Vanilla with Other Natural Flavors.” It claims that the yogurt should be labeled as “Artificially Flavored.”

Price Chopper “Vanilla” Lowfat Yogurt Multi-State Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels